Friday, January 19, 2007

Skimming through 6039 pages of MSOOXML

As a member of SIRIM TC4, I am entrusted to check out any work passing through the committee. The latest of course is the evaluation of the Microsoft Office Open XML (MSOOXML) standard which is being fast-tracked through ISO, which Malaysia has a vote.

So I dutifully downloaded the massive 49MB file from ECMA, and hoped that Adobe Acrobat would not steal too much of my system resources to view the 6039 page file.

The document is huge. Im not too sure how it can be "fast-tracked" because theres just so much to cover. The document is also full of wierd stuff. For example there are over 10 pages with pictures on how to render a 3d "button" with 3 lights and different materials. I didnt know that office document creation was as extensive as a 3D visualisation package.

As I scanned through the document, it became very apparent that there are many things not very consistent with it. Within an hour, I managed to pick up about 5 aspects, and they are quite significant issues regarding the standard.

If you are a techie, I would like to encourage you to have a look at this specification, because it is interesting that such a document could be allowed to be fast-tracked.

Here is my first evaluation of one of the problems with this standard: "MSOOXML has poor XML Element names."

You can also view a growing list of objections at grokdoc.